A foreign student who was the victim of an alleged attack in Beijing’s Sanlitun district is warning other foreigners in the area to be careful, and to “stay polite” under those circumstances.
The foreign student, who requested anonymity, citing a fear of repercussions, said that on Saturday evening he was out in Sanlitun. At around 1.30 am, in the early hours of Sunday morning, he and a female friend were waiting for a taxi near the corner of Sanlitun Nandajie, close to where a Soho building is being constructed.
He said a wagon pulled up nearby, and a group of six or seven men emerged. “At first I thought they had a black taxi, they were asking me qu nali (where are you going?), but then they also started asking if my friend was Chinese.”
“They were carrying things, at first I thought they were sticks, but as they got closer I realized they were metal.”
“I wanted to run, but I wondered ‘what will happen to my friend?’ so I stayed.”
He said that he was not sure what to do and was in shock, so he handed them his student ID card “in case they were police,” but that they then hit him several times though he only began to feel pain afterwards, once the shock had subsided, leaving him with bruising on his arms and shoulders.
“I didn’t fight back, I didn’t talk back to them. I just stayed quiet. I just want other people to know that you should stay calm, and try to be polite. What was I going to do, try to fight six or seven guys?”
He said he thought his injuries would have been worse if he had angered them, and that he ended up handing one of them 100 RMB in the hope they would go away, and that perhaps they did when they learned that his female friend was not actually Chinese. He then took a taxi home.
TWOC also spoke to an eyewitness to a separate incident in Wudaokou, who said that he saw “four Chinese holding bats chasing a black guy, shouting at him,” along Zhanchunyuan West Road, at around 3 am the same morning. Rumors were swirling on social networking app Wechat on Monday of racially motivated attacks in Beijing.
But there are no details at this stage linking the two incidents.
Attempts to contact the Beijing police for comment were unsuccessful.